Description: Reviewed by Maxx Power for the Phrozen Keep.
Categories: Mod Reviews
Here's an unusual situation. This is the first time I've ever sat down and wrote a mod review without seeing a character into Hell difficulty. The reasoning behind this will become clear within the review itself, but it's still an interesting proposition. Usually out of sheer habit I don't consider myself well versed enough in a mod to write such a report until I've played through to the end of Hell with one char and taken every other character through at least Normal. But with blackened, I've reached the end of Normal, and I now sit here typing this up. Want to know why? I'll tell you.
Of course if anyone were to write a review for this mod they would be insane not to bring direct attention to the new skills available, which are very much the core of the mod as it stands. They are of course works of genius and variance, while obviously based on a Vanilla counterpart, is usually done with a unique twist. The graphics are also top notch, with many of the higher level spells turning the battlefield into a varitable cornucopia of technicolour that you'll be hard pressed to find any other mod rivalling easily.
Traditional builds and roles of the various classes are changed and in some cases turned on their heads. You won't find Hammerdins and Meteorb Sorcs running around anytime soon. Ideas and names are heavily drawn from AD&D lore, adding that extra pang of greatness into the mix.
[b][u]WHAT DOESNT WORK:[/b][/u]
But herein lies the problem. With the exception of the new skills on offer, this mod offers nothing else radical, or even many things that come standard with other mods. There's no new monster animations, no new (barring one map) areas to explore, very little in the way of new class-specific items, or other items at all. There's no new affixes, no new sets or uniques (except one again). Infact, there's a heck of a lot that you think should be in here but isn't. Adhin himself is the first to admit that the mod is far from completed, but for the amount of time and patience that has been put into making sure the skills are just right, at least some attention could have been paid into adding something extra along with them.
At the end of the day, while the new skills on offer are outstanding, the sheer lack of anything new to plough through except bog-standard LOD dillutes the experience greatly, to the point where once you've reached the end of Normal with the task of Nightmare and Hell ahead you'll most likely get that overwhelming feeling that it's all inevitably going nowhere. However much fun it may be to try different builds in both this mod and in vanilla Diablo, when it comes to mods such as this many of you may expect something more. Unfortunately, there isn't.
It's hard to describe Blackened as a mod, as more of a 'Technical Showcase'. In it's current incarnation there is very little to want to make you go beyond level 40+, once all of the skills on offer are in your arsenal. Granted the very pointless nature of Diablo means that the same arguement could be applied to any mod, but in the case of Blackened it's hampered by the fact that you're not going to get to try out some brand new runeword or see some out-of-the-ordinary enemies. For all my talk of mods following conventional mod-making techniques, it's painfully obvious just how big a gap they can leave if they are not thrown into the balance.
Blackened is empty. Very empty. There's the potential for greatness in there to be sure, as the solid foundation provided by the skill sets on offer shows. However as it stands the lack of anything besides these said skills means that Blackened is less a mod more an exercise in inventive ways to kill those dang blasted demons again. As a Diablo mod player, there are certain standards that I expect to see in every mod I play, and Blackened is lacking many of these. Perhaps some months down the line once the other elements of the mod come into play then it's true nature will be revealed, and I will have a new found love of this mod. But in the meantime my characters will have to sit in Act 5 twiddling their thumbs, and so will I. Roll on the next beta version.
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[url=http://d2mods.info/forum/kb/viewarticle?a=327&sid=bb5b11c8845fc401b042ec4394c60372]Knowledge Base - [LOD v.1.10] Blackened Beta 3[/url]